Seed quality is very important in pulse production, as the costs of seed and seed treatments are a significant part of overall input costs. Seed generally refers to grain intended for planting, while grain is the term for sale into the marketplace as food, feed or fuel. If the seed is for planting, "quality" refers to seed that has a high germination, is intact, free from foreign materials and weed seeds and has zero or low levels of seed-borne diseases. This article will focus on the importance of seed-borne diseases in quality pulse seed.
Planting pulse seed that is free of ascochyta blight and other important seed-borne diseases is the primary means to limit the introduction of pathogens into a field, and prevent early establishment of disease.
Planting infected seed may result in a widespread distribution of disease within the crop, and an increased number of initial infection sites from which the disease can spread. As an example, consider the development of ascochyta blight in a chickpea crop. Since there is a high rate of seed-to-seedling transmission of this disease, even a small percentage of infected seed can result in significant seedling infection in the field. For a seed lot with 0.1 per cent ascochyta infection (one infected seed in 1,000 seeds) and a planting density of three to four plants/ft.2, 175 infected seedlings per acre, could potentially result. This is a substantial amount of early infection for this aggressive disease.
For more information on seed testing and information on pathogens and guidelines for individual diseases please refer to our complete fact sheet on seed borne diseases in pulse crops.
Download the entire Seed Quality and Guidelines for Seed Borne Diseases of Pulse Crops fact sheet (PDF)